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Safety at Your Garage Sale

Safety at Your Garage Sale

Are you looking to clear out the clutter? Hosting a rummage sale is a perfect (and fun) way to do it! However, much like holding an open house, it’s important to keep your customers safe while shopping on your property. Read up on these simple tips to keep your yard sale safe, so you can focus on selling your goods.

  • Don’t talk about how much money you are making. (Don’t tempt thieves.)
  • Keep your cash box or cash bag on you through the span of the sale—we recommend wearing a fanny pack to hold your cash.
  • Organize with care. Be mindful of how you arrange your goods to reduce liabilities. Never place heavy items in locations they can topple over and keep things out of the way, so people don’t trip.
  • Don’t let anyone in the house for any reason—not to use restrooms or try on clothes.
  • Keep all doors locked except the one near you so that you can access it and go into the house from the garage.
  • Make sure each person helping with the sale knows what their job is. Is it collecting money, watching tables, getting lunch, running bills in the house, or greeting customers?
  • Do NOT stand or sit talking or on your phone ignoring your customers. Make yourself available to them.
  • Keep dogs inside the house or in another secured area. As friendly as dogs are, accidents happen whether they snarl at a stranger, child, or an older person trips over Fido. There is also the possibility your precious pooch could get stolen. It has happened before.
  • Stay hydrated and cool. When you’re spending long hours outdoors, it’s a good idea to stay in the shade, wear sunscreen, and consume water to avoid dehydration and overheating. Portable canopy tents are perfect for garage sale check-out areas. You’ll manage purchases in the shade and will be able to oversee the event without cooking in the sun.
  • Invite your older children to join in! Children can help by setting up a little snack area and selling cans of pop or bottles of water from an ice-filled cooler. Keeping children busy or finding a sitter for younger ones is a good idea so you can keep give the garage sale your undivided attention.

Be Vigilant

Thieves often work in pairs or groups where one will try to distract you while the other will steal small valuable items or your cash box. They’ll often be there with the early birds while you are trying to set up or during the rush when you have 10-12 shoppers all haggling over prices, so be vigilant.

Another technique I heard being used is that a person will ask about something to get you to go inside while they help themselves to your tables. They might say they’re looking for any sort of jewelry (perhaps you have some that you hadn’t considered selling until you heard how much they were prepared to spend) or that they like fixing things and are keen to buy any old televisions, computers, or broken electronics (that you were planning to throw out and so hadn’t included in your sale).

Have Several People Helping

Be careful if you’re asked to help take something out to the person’s car and load it for them. This can take more time than you would like, this leaves your garage sale one person short, and you may miss an opportunity for a sale.

This distraction may also be what the “buyer” wants to happen while an accomplice helps themselves to your merchandise.

The buyer might also come back claiming that you didn’t load all their purchases, and they’ll want a refund for the ‘missing’ items. They could be right because it’s unlikely you’d remember their exact purchases. They could also be trying to con you. You could test them by saying, “You’re the third person to try that stunt today, and it won’t work.” The chances are that if they’re trying to con you, they won’t be bothered to try to get away with a $5 con.

If you have other shoppers browsing, be clear that you can only offer quick help (if you have helpers to mind the store) or that you can spend more time later when it’s less busy.

Use A Fanny Pack for Collecting Cash

I know many people tend to use a cash box; however, just to be on the safe side (remember, not everyone is as honest as we are), you’ll want to always have the cash on you. We recommend wearing a fanny pack to carry the money in.

Use a Calculator to Tally up Totals 

There is something about yard sale days that just turns my brain to mush. I always keep a calculator on hand to double (and triple) check my math.

Never Accept Personal Checks

Do yourself a favor and refuse to accept personal checks at your yard sale. While most people are honest good people, some aren’t, which unfortunately ruins it for the rest. The last thing you want is to sell a valuable item to someone who pays with a check, and the check bounces—boo! Avoid that entire scenario by accepting cash or card only.

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